Have you ever attempted a book or article to be discouraged by its difficulty? Even the most intelligent and well-read people fall prey to this phenomenon occasionally.
On three consecutive occasions, I’ve attempted reading “Moby-Dick,” only to give up shortly after the Pequod sets sail on its doomed journey. This book, called the best American novel, is just too complicated for me to enjoy.
People are turned off not just by novels that are difficult to read and understand but also by poorly written, wordy, or otherwise unreadable web pages.
Not to mention, search engines appreciate written and organized content. When it comes to search engine rankings, quality content still reigns supreme.
What Does Readability Means?
Many elements contribute to how easy or difficult a piece of writing is to read, such as the average sentence length, word choice, and frequency of commas.
It’s easier to skim through longer words than decipher their shorter alternatives. Words like “went” are simpler to read than “progressed” or “proceeded.”
The Flesch-Kincaid test, which consists of two parts (reading difficulty and grade level), is widely used to gauge the readability of English-language texts.
The greater the readability rating, the more effortless it is to digest the text. The grade level reflects the minimum amount of schooling necessary for its comprehension. You probably did a check, and the results weren’t good. Well, what do you do?
You can go over it, split up sentences, replace complicated terms with simpler ones, and turn passive structures into active ones to make your text flow better. On the other hand, you can put technology to use for your benefit.
3 Ways Readability Can Compromise with Creativity
Relying too much on readability can hamper your creative writing in three ways. Let me explain how.
It can make you sound too simple
There are a lot of passive-voiced, present-tense sentences. This technique will become synonymous with your name whenever you put pen to paper. I think I’ll like it while I’m in seventh or eighth grade, but not when I’m a college grad or working adult.
To establish the mode and tone, use simple words and an active voice. However, you’ll need variety if you keep your plot going.
If not, your reader will feel like they’ve reached the top of a tree with no way to descend. If so, do you think he or she would enjoy staying there permanently? On second thought, maybe not.
Your reader will feel its not for them
The readability score couldn’t be lower. When we strive for perfection instead of improvement, we miss out on the fun of learning from our flaws and experiencing the limitations of being human. The reader isn’t interested in the statistics; they’re interested in you. If that’s your primary metric for success, you can guess who’s leaving you in the dust: your reader.
Writing that is interesting to read is likely to feature a wide range of voices. Ultimately, what counts is what you’ve been through, how you’ve felt, and what you’ve accomplished. A slew of formulaic, simple sentences made up of general and easy terms will not generate variety.
Not all readability formulas work equally
When applied to the exact text, all formulas should yield the same outcomes if they were genuinely unanimous. Nonetheless, this is not the situation. The Gunning Fog index, for instance, consistently outperforms the most common methods by a factor of three.
This has not concluded. The SMOG index is consistently two levels above the Dale-Chall method. You may get different results if you apply the same formula to the exact text with different tools.
5 Tools To Improve Readability Without Compromising Creativity
Ernest Hemingway, widely regarded as one of the finest American authors, is often praised for his uncomplicated writing style. The Hemingway App is a fitting tribute to Papa, as it aids authors in streamlining their processes for better clarity.
After you input some text, it gives you a grade and points out where you may strengthen it. Finding adverbs, passive constructions, phrases with simpler alternatives, and convoluted sentences are part of the process.
One of the “most advanced readability grading tools in the world” is Readable. It has many useful features, including several that were developed with websites in mind.
It does not use the Flesh-Kincaid scale but rather its standards to give your writing a letter grade (A–E). In addition, it delivers reach data that reveal what proportion of your target audience can comprehend the material.
Your website’s headers, footers, and other non-content material will be scanned by its readability tool, and you will track its score and status in real time. It also has a keyword density checker to ensure you don’t get penalized by Google for overusing keywords.
For checking grammar, spelling, concision, and tone in written content, use Grammarly, a free app, cloud-based tool, and browser plugin.
Employing machine learning recommends simpler alternatives to complex expressions. It also serves as a plagiarism detector. There is a free version of Grammarly and two paid subscription tiers with increasingly sophisticated writing guidance.
Yoast Readability Analysis
Yoast, a prominent WordPress SEO plugin, also has a readability option. Created with SEO in mind, it analyzes the readability of your content and flags any problems. The readability of your text is rated on a scale from green (very good) to yellow (quite decent) to red (very poor).
Passive voice, subheading balance, sentence and paragraph length, and consecutive sentences are all checked. Also, you can evaluate numerous keywords and get your Flesch reading score.
ProWritingAid Writing Assistant
ProWritingAid Writing Assistant is an AI-powered spelling, grammar, and readability checker with additional capabilities to improve your written communication.
Twenty different reports cover sentence length, word choice, and consistency, providing style recommendations and a contextual thesaurus.
Additionally, ProWritingAid is compatible with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Google Docs, and Scrivener through the use of browser add-ons and application integration.